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Help! I Need an Elevator Pitch!

A therapist client recently asked me for help in writing an elevator pitch. You’ve probably heard how it goes…you get into an elevator, there’s a potential client there, perfect for you, needing what you have to offer, what do you say? You have between 30 and 60 seconds to deliver your message before the doors open onto the next floor. What you say about your work in that short window of time is your elevator pitch.

So, with less than a minute, this is not a time to go into an analysis of the relative merits of CBT and person centred Photo no (15)counselling, nor a time to list your diplomas, certificates and degrees.

Okay, so it’ll probably never happen that you’ll be in a lift with a prospective client, and wishing you’d spent more time thinking through what you want to say. But there’s a strong chance that you’ll find yourself talking to someone at a workshop or conference, who might be in a position to send work your way. Or you’ll be talking to a local doctor, asking them to send clients to you. And whether it’s in an elevator, or anywhere else, you still only have a tiny window of time to make that impression on them, so that they’ll remember who you are.

A friend rang me during the week to ask me for the name of a therapist they had met some time ago, who had made an impression on them. My friend wanted to refer a client to them, but couldn’t remember the therapist’s name or location, just one obscure detail about them. The therapist they were looking for had made an impression by sharing a detail of their personal life, and it was that detail that told my friend that the therapist might be able to help their client.

So here’s the first point. You have maybe a minute, maybe less, to make an impression on everyone you meet, MAKE IT COUNT! You never know who might want to send work your way.

The time to think about this is not when you’re in the elevator, or the workshop, or in front of the doctor, or wherever. The time to think about it is when there’s no pressure. Spend a little time thinking about your answer to the question, “What do you do?” Think about what makes it an interesting and absorbing career for you, and try to capture the essence of that.

A good formula to try out is “I help these people, who have this problem, to find this solution or reach this outcome.” Fill in your own words for “these people,” “this problem” and “this solution.”

Try it out with a friend, and see what they think of how you present yourself. Practice until you are completely comfortable with it. Personally, I’ve found that telling people I’m a psychotherapist is just as likely to kill any conversation, as it was telling them I’m an accountant. No, actually, maybe it’s worse! Because in my experience, most people have little idea what a psychotherapist does for a living.

And here’s the second point. Getting in touch with what interests and absorbs you about your work gets you clearer about why you do it. And that is as much for you, as for a prospective client or referrer. When you get clearer, something magical happens. Doors open and clients walk through, clients who are a good match for you.

Photo no (34)The person who asked for my help in writing an elevator pitch wanted to be more confident talking to doctors and asking them for referrals. She was concerned that they weren’t open to what she had to offer. My advice? Be yourself, get in touch with what you love about the job, and write your pitch from there. Think about how what you offer complements what they do. For example, most doctors haven’t the time to listen to their patients’ stories the way you can.

And here’s a secret, it’s not the doctors who need to be convinced…it’s you!

Take a little time now, and a piece of paper, and quickly write:

  • 5 things I love about this work
  • 5 words to describe the feelings I experience when the work goes well
  • 5 clients I have helped and how they have been different as a result of working with me

If you’d like help with any aspect of promoting or growing your practice, contact me here for an appointment or to avail of a free 20 minute consultation.

1 Comment

  • 13 Ways to Market Your Therapy Practice Without a Website | This Business of Therapy

    […] Take the opportunity to meet with possible referral sources: Family, friends, colleagues, trainers, other professionals. Be specific about the type of work you do, so that they will know you’re the right person for the job. Check out Meet Up groups in your area. Don’t discount the benefits of formal networking opportunities too, such as getting involved in the Lions Club or Rotary, or paid networking groups such as Business Network International. See my articles about networking and having an elevator pitch. […]

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